While participating in a past-life training session with Dr. Edith Fiore, I was regressed to try to find out why I have arthritis. I have had various minor attacks of arthritis since my early twenties and at the age of thirty-two have developed gout—another form of arthritis. I seem to be particularly affected in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands.
As the regression took place I found myself as a male sixteenth century Italian physician. I was treating a young girl (about eight years old) who had broken her arm at the elbow. It was necessary to put the bones back in place to set the arm. I violently twisted the child’s arm. Bone grated against bone. The child screamed, and I knew that I had deliberately inflicted pain.
I felt confused and humiliated. I didn’t like seeing myself as cruel. The confusion arose from the knowledge that I, a good physician who loved children, had acted viciously. This behavior puzzled me. As the regression continued, I learned that I was unhappily married to a woman who did not want children and refused to consider having a family. Anger and bitterness filled our marriage. I inflicted these feelings onto my patients. In my mid-years, my wife died and it was as though a millstone had been removed from my neck. Now I was free to live my life as I pleased. However, I had by this time developed arthritis. My crippled joints made it impossible for me to continue with my practice of medicine. I retired to a small cottage in the country where I lived quietly, spending most of my time and energy in my garden.
As an old man, I was very close to a young blond girl who lived nearby. She would come and work with me in the garden. I loved this child dearly. She was about five or six when my time to die arrived. As I lay dying she brought me a bouquet of flowers and kissed me on the cheek. She seemed to know that I was dying and seemed to accept the naturalness of death. As my spirit rose from my body, I watched her run out the door to fetch someone. As I reviewed and evaluated that lifetime, it was clear that I had misused my healing skills. I had let bitterness and anger dominate much of my life. It was not enough that I had resolved much of that anger later in life—I had not forgiven my wife—I had only been relieved by her death.
When I was asked during the regression if any of the people in that lifetime existed in my current life, I was not elated to find that the wife in that lifetime had been my husband in my present life. Other similarities between that former life and the life I live now were even more difficult to face. My husband did not want children when we were first married. When our first child was born eleven months after our wedding, the stage was set for mistrust that continued throughout our fifteen years of marriage. There were also other similarities—I was a pre-medical student when my husband and I had met and married.
During this same regression, I was led to another lifetime with connections to arthritis. This time I was a monk living a very austere life in a monastery. Again I was working in a garden. I was regularly complaining about the lack of commitment I perceived in my fellow monks. I openly castigated them for not having more respect for God. This theme of criticizing seemed to predominate throughout this life. I reached old age bitter and isolated. The younger monks would laugh at me behind my back. The more I complained, the less they sought to hide their disdain of me. My bitterness deepened even more and I began to complain to God about the inadequacies I saw in others. My last few years of life were spent alone in my cell. My body was racked with pain. The chill dampness of the cell added to my misery. I died alone, in pain, and to the sorrow of no one.
In reviewing and evaluating this lifetime, I could not escape the theme of bitterness and judgment of others masked as the practice of a religious life. Again, it was difficult to accept the harsh and unbending person I had been. Now that I had this information, I knew that it was important that I make use of it. I felt overwhelmed by my previous alienation from any close human connection. Now I was faced with forgiving myself for what had been a sacrilegious life. It is one thing to tackle forgiving others and quite another to tackle forgiving oneself. In response to a five-word question, Why do I have arthritis?”, and in about one hour’s time, I had looked at aspects of myself, my life, my relationships, and my destiny. I wish I could say that I was magically changed, instantly cured, and blissfully happy from that day forward, but that would be missing the main point of what this experience is about.
During the years that have passed since reviewing those two lifetimes, I have attempted to integrate the information gained into my daily life. The themes this regression depicted—anger, bitterness, lack of acceptance, unforgivingness, and violation of skill—all have importance in my current life.
Now as I follow my profession as a psychotherapist, people come to me in pain. I am constantly thoughtful of avoiding the misuse of my healing skills. I have worked at removing the anger and bitterness from my life—paying particular attention to my feelings regarding my ex-husband.
My arthritis isn’t completely gone. It seems to flare up when I allow anger or impatience or bitterness or unforgiveness into my life. When the pain comes, it serves me as a reminder. If I stop and listen to the message it brings, the pain is soon gone.
Did I really live in 16th Century Italy as a physician? Was I really a monk who lived a painful, embittered life in a monastery? I don’t know. What I do know is that these stories have substantially contributed to the way I view my life, live my life, and to what I believe about myself and others. I do not fear death. I try to walk through this life peacefully, lovingly, seeking to be patient, compassionate, and humble…learning to forgive myself when I don’t meet those standards.